11 October 2015

Culture Risk: Charting a Course for Achieving the Mission...

"It's more fun to be a pirate than to join the Navy" - Steve Jobs

Think about the culture your organization has created, from inception to present day.  What is it about the current state, that draws the kind of new people to want to get on board?  Do you have people lining up behind the recruiting table, to join the Navy or to be a Pirate?

Competition for new talent and fresh perspectives, requires the continuous pursuit of new people to join the firm, company or government agency.  It's already a historical fact, on how many applications Apple or Google receives for every job opening.  Yet other companies are struggling to find anyone to fill the ranks of the new project teams they seek.

As these new recruits come through the doors of the organization, are they ready to work within the rules of the pirate ship or learn a more proven, consistent environment of certainty and longevity? Certainly you can sense what kind of ship you are on right now.  Will your company be around in 2 years or 5 years?  How will you sustain the mission and vision you set out to accomplish?

As you embark on your next voyage with an organization, you can bet that what you see early on, is what you will get for months and years to come.  What is it about the cultural environment and the way people behave within the enterprise that is so appealing to you?  Is it the product, the service or the purpose that gets you out of bed each day, to do the job and accomplish your tasks for the greater benefit of the team?

Enthusiasm is contagious and people who are "Waving the Flag" for their group, team or organization has a tendency to get others attention and it becomes viral.  They start to wonder why there is so much energy and so many people trying to join up and participate.  The "Crowd Effect" is a known marketing strategy that has worked in advertising for decades.

And then there is another strategy that might be counter intuitive and for good reason.  The opposite might be found in slogans such as "Only a Few Good Men" or an "elite community of professionals". Many may want to join, but only the best and the most resilient will achieve the goal of becoming part of the team.

What is it, that is the same about these two kinds of organizations?  Analyze the elements of what makes them both similar and how they are able to persist over time and you will begin to see, what really matters in effectiveness of organizational design and cultural development.  You will begin to understand the essential factors to enhance in order to achieve a long lasting and perpetual enterprise. Here are a few words that would describe and define both environments:

  • Trust
  • Innovation
  • Adaptive
  • Continuous Learning
  • Empathy
  • Belief

The factors you search for with your next organization, company or project team might have some or all of these attributes.  It is up to you to determine what is in your best interest long term, whether to be a pirate or join the Navy.  Once you have made the decision, it will forever define you and shape the way you think, act and behave for much of the rest of your life.

As an Operational Risk Management (ORM) professional, first it is your job to figure out what kind of ship you are on.  Second, it is your job to make sure that the Captain achieves their destination, today, tomorrow or next week.  Finally, you must decide if the ship you are on and the Captain both, will help you fulfill your life long goals and aspirations.

Now, think about your current cultural environment.  What is your organizational course?  Who is commanding the ship?  Are you ready for the next mission with your team?  Why?

Now you are well on your way to having a more clear picture of your destiny and contributing to achieving success of your next mission...

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